10 REASONS WHY TANDEM IS HOT (AND WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE THEM YOUR WHOLE ARCHIVE)
A few years ago I was looking into options for my mostly-stagnant photo archive which was gathering digital dust in a Jenga-ed tower of different shaped external hard drives in my closet. After getting a few replies from major stock agencies about how they would love to give me the “honor” of being a royalty-free contributor (explanation of royalty-free vs. rights-managed images for the curious), I had mostly written off stock usage as a greedy capitalist d-bag’s plot to make wads of cash off of the struggling artist/photographer.
A couple weeks after getting another we-like-your-photos-and-want-to-make-money-off-them-but-not-for-you e-mail from Aurora, my friend, Bennett Barthelemy, told me about a brand new agency called Tandem Stills + Motion that was promoting outdoor, adventure, travel, and lifestyle imagery. Basically, everything I love in life. Wary, about submitting to a young company, I asked Bennett (who had been with Tandem for their first few months of existence) “Do I give them my ‘meh’ stuff or the stuff I like?” “Give them everything”, he said. So I did. It’s three years later and working with Tandem Stills + Motion just keeps getting better. Here’s some reasons why you should give them your whole archive.
And by “respect” I mean “dollar bills”. Tandem isn’t your daddy’s stock agency. 50/50 splits on all sales mean you actually get paid for consistently producing strong work with detailed captions and keywords. So the term “royalty-free” goes in the shitter where it belongs and you as a contributor get to hold on to a little pride and spending lettuce.
Tandem has no closed doors to speak of. Regular in-depth newsletters and year-end numbers reports keep contributors in the know on growth, trends, and news. Even more rad is the fact that both the sales department (JP Harrison) and the CEO (Ian Shive) are almost constantly reachable by phone or e-mail. It’s rare for me not to hear back from one of them within a few hours of correspondence.
Everything about Tandem is efficient. The staff is small, highly-motivated, and friendly. Their content management system is sleek, clean and easy to use for both contributors and clients.
4. In house
Sticking by their unofficial “photographers first” mantra, Tandem refuses to license through third parties and fall into the Inception-like dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream diminishing royalties trap that overreaching corporate stock agencies lend themselves to. Every licensing deal goes through one man — the tanned, laid-back, surfer face of Jon Paul Harrison, Tandem’s always-hustling marketing guru. The result is higher overall royalties per use and a more fulfilling contributor experience from beginning to end.
5. High standards
Tandem doesn’t just accept everything. Which is great. Discerning photo and video edits may initially mean lower volume and a few content holes for clients, but it also means consistent high overall quality, which, in the end is better for everyone. Solid peer images bring in more client traffic, which means more eyes on everyone’s images. Seth Casteel’s underwater doggie photos going viral? Hell yeah. Great for Seth, great for Tandem!
Cell phone cases with contributor images. Bam.
7. L.A. based (so you don’t have to be)
There are few marketing Meccas bigger than Los Angeles. The Tandem headquarters is in the prime location for getting traction with some of the biggest editorial and commercial clients in the world. That means you can live and shoot in the places you love without having to make the token move to Hollywood to get noticed. Though stopping in for a beer and some sun every once and a while doesn’t hurt.
8. Cool factor
There’s only one thing better than having genuine friends, and that’s having genuine, good-looking friends. CEO Ian Shive and Executive Director of Sales/Development JP Harrison are friendly, driven and good-looking, and despite 40 years of overzealous post-modern child rearing, the reality is yes, looks aren’t the end-all, but they really effing help, especially when it comes to marketing. Also, the Tandem logo is often confused with the pi (π) symbol, which could potentially get you into some pretty good frat parties.
9. It’s easy
You don’t need a degree from Brooks to become a Tandem contributor. You just have to produce strong work.
10. They don’t sleep
It’s a tough industry to make a buck in. The trade is more accessible than ever, competition is high and everyone and their mum thinks they have the Ansel gene. But the boys at Tandem hustle like they’re on cocaine, which means even when you are out throwing elbows to get through the crowds of shooters at Delicate Arch at sunset, the chaps at Tandem are pushing your work out to clients the world over. Besides you’re not making any money or gaining notoriety by sitting on your images. So check it out. https://tandemstock.com/users/apply-for-contributor
Tandem Stills + Motion | www.tandemstock.com